It’s Saturday Jan 6th, 2018. I’ve woken up early after a night of board games and tea (I’m in my 30s, there’s no rock n’ roll left in me) and it’s the day of the Hampshire Cross-Country Championships! A quick morning perambulation with my spaniel warmed me up nicely for Southampton parkrun, which I just jogged around trying to pace my girlfriend to a certain time. Unfortunately said time didn’t happen and I was accidentally tripped up in the masses of runners that took part – sorry for the swearwords, everyone! There were over a 1000 runners due to Eastleigh & Winchester parkruns being off, as well as lots of people starting off the new year with some exercise – which is great!
I’ve only been running for just over a year and the Hampshire XC Championships would be only my 3rd XC race. I’m a novice when it comes to mud and had spent all week worrying about which shoes to wear! Luckily Scott at Alton Sports hooked me up with some Nike Zooms XC and 15″ spikes…. which was a far better plan that running round in trail shoes, especially when the mud was ankle deep! Ha!
A quick trip after parkrun to Eastleigh, the new shoes were purchased and I was ready to wade through mud with Hampshire’s best runners. The previous two XC races I did were in the Sunday Southern league and both courses I had run were super hilly and only 5 miles. Today’s course was just over 7 miles and pretty flat… although it doesn’t matter how flat the terrain is when it’s muddier than a hippo’s back garden.
I’m so glad I bought the XC spikes even though running in them was a totally alien experience! Only a few months ago I was running in shoes that an astronaut would wear for a moon landing and now I was running around in a pair of violent plimsoles. I looked down at my feet and thought I was a referee! Jokes aside, the shoes were awesome and did the job excellently. I didn’t slip over once and even though my legs got heavy, they weren’t further weighed down by big wet shoes. Kudos to Scott for the advice!
Event wise – it was brilliant! Excellently organised and marshalled and great facilities at Fairthorne Manor. I got to watch some of the ladies’ race and see some of the U-17s ploughing around but I spent most of my time standing with my fellow Liss Runners getting ready to run. I’d happily watch other people run all day though! Well done to everyone who ran and to everyone who organised this superb day out for the running community – I am looking forward to giving it a go again next year. I was happy to come home in 54th place with two very muddy legs still attached to me.
You can see the full results here.
You can see some professional photos here.